Content Warning: Violent misogyny. Ableism. Racism. One non-flashy animated gif.
Greta Christina saved me the grueling task of compiling links discussing the entitled sexist skidmark who killed a bunch of people over not getting laid. I have been trying to compile these but this whole thing just makes me feel too awful to pay it the kind of focused attention it deserves. Much love and gratitude to Greta.
Here’s my addition:
Of course, rather than get into any of the killer’s stated reasons for murdering his fellow humans, the news is calling him a “madman” and speculating about autism, divorced parents, miscellaneous mental illnesses (despite him having been in therapy for years with no diagnoses), you name it. This can’t be any kind of indicator of a problem in what sorts of people we encourage men to be, right? It must be just another isolated case of a misfiring brain that’s Not Even Remotely Representative Of Ours Ever. Right? No, what the fuck.
Sure. There’s no pattern here.
Scholars for a while now have been linking a particularly-masculine sort of aggrieved entitlement to acts of mass violence.
In this theoretical essay, we examine school shootings that culminate in the suicide of the assailant(s). We do so to elucidate how the culture of hegemonic masculinity available to young American men encourages the use of violence to avenge a perceived challenge to their masculine identity. When these attacks to one’s masculine identity affect someone to the point of suicidal ideation, committing mass murder can be an instrumental way to achieve a sense of power; and framing one’s suicide with violence and aggression may serve to make it appear a more potent act.
AlterNet has Chauncey DeVega’s The Santa Barbara Mass Shooting, [shooter], and Aggrieved White Male Entitlement Syndrome with more, and crunchier analysis from Mother Jones’s Mass Shootings Map.
Or, to put it another way:
I hang out on a pretty great corner of the internet so most of the people I know are not refusing to make the connection about how often these incidents look super similar. See for example Kat Haché:
Attention news media: if a man puts out a manifesto talking explicitly about revenge on women that have rejected him and identifies with an ideological movement that encourages that violent resentment, then maybe you shouldn’t act like he’s just cuckoo crazy and his ideas came out of nowhere. Like other people have said, that stigmatizes mentally ill people AND is an abdication of responsibility to actually analyze the cultural influences that made this man think his actions were acceptable.
Someone in the comments of a friend’s status about this actually seriously typed and entered these words as a contribution. “Don’t worry be happy. It will never fully go away. Nobody said they were nice guys [OP]. In fact they are pieces of shit, but those people will never go away. So why bother yourself with worrying so much about it?”
JT Eberhard posted the following to his Facebook page:
A privileged young man afflicted with mental illness of some sort goes on a shooting spree. In the wake of the rampage I see few people pointing out how mental illness doesn’t discriminate, and that even the financially fortunate are no more immune than the poor, and the need for more awareness. I see several people insinuating that his privileged male status, rather than his sanity, was responsible.
This makes me sad.
Well, shucks. Now we’re both sad. I’m sad in that “burning down in my bones” way that leads to kinda clumsy upset linkdump blog entries, so I apologize for that and JT Eberhard probably should too.
When people say why they commit acts of violence, why not believe them? I can tell you that as a result of my own studies–which unlike for some people are studies I engage in not as a thought experiment but in a serious attempt to prolong my own survival–I worry far more about people (generally men, because men are more likely to be taught this in a strong systemic way) who believe that the appropriate response to being denied sexual access to me is to kill me.
As @SallyStrange put it: “[shooter] was not mentally ill. [shooter] was a terrorist fighting for a world where women can’t say no to sex. #hatecrime”
Many sorts of mentally ill people are definitely inclined to believe some obviously counterfactual things. Many sorts of mentally ill people have difficulty reasoning in straight lines. Mentally ill people are, however, more likely to be victims of violence than they are the perpetrators. I had trouble believing this to because all the people who’ve abused me personally have been mentally ill, but you know what we say about the plural of “anecdote” not being “data.” That’s counter to my personal experiences, but when it comes to my own survival, I have to take data seriously because men killing me for not fucking them is actually a legitimate threat I live with. So it’s not mentally ill people who pose the biggest threat.
There are people who can be perfectly “sane” (in that they are reasoning from what they believe to be facts in a rational way and in accordance with the dominant values of the peer groups they associate with) who are nonetheless absolutely goddamn terrible. As Miri put it, “before you call [shooter] ‘crazy’: it is not actually ‘crazy’ to believe stuff that’s been shoved down your throat from birth.”
A man who thinks that being denied sex is a catastrophe for which he is owed reparations by all womankind is not delusional; this is a set of ideas he’s been taught. A man who thinks that women exist in a just world where all misfortune that befalls us is happening because we choose to sleep with other people is not delusional; in a lot of peer groups for men this is an entirely reasonable thing to believe.
See also Jessica Valenti’s [shooter]’s California shooting spree: further proof that misogyny kills
It was reported on Saturday that [shooter]’s family had contacted the police about his violent and strange videos “weeks” before the shooting The family attorney said that police interviewed [shooter] and thought he was a “perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human”.
I have to wonder how much police dismissed [shooter]’s video rants because of the expectation that violent misogyny in young men is normal and expected.
“Dismissing violent misogynists as ‘crazy’ is a neat way of saying that violent misogyny is an individual problem, not a cultural one,” feminist blogger Melissa McEwan of Shakesville tweeted.
The truth is that there is no such thing as a lone misogynist — they are created by our culture, and by communities that tells them that their hatred is both commonplace and justified.
This results in antisocial behavior, yes. This is because certain kinds of people go their whole lives never learning that the ideas driving them are absolutely goddamn ghastly, and they never learn that because there quite frankly are not enough people in their culture who believe it. We don’t have the saturation of anti-rape culture advocates we’d need to consider every single person who acts reasonably on toxic beliefs some kind of kooky broken-brained outlier. There just aren’t enough of us who see this as a serious problem, because the right people can hurt the right people and not be terrorists, can not be committing a hate crime.
I’m sorry that some people are getting sick of hearing about how masculine entitlement is a major factor. I’m sorry that some people have heard this enough times that they think we are all done teaching it. Mostly I am sorry because of how many supposed allies this means are totally missing the point. The point is that this keeps happening because our culture supports this behavior in a lot of ways; it’s not a fringe sort of a thing. This is not outside the realm of mainstream ideas and behavior. I think that scares a lot of people, so they try their damndest to convince themselves that no “normal” person would behave this way.
You know who can go through life with that idea? People who don’t have to live in fear of dudes like this one who respond to rejection with violence. Joreth Innkeeper is one of us who has to pay attention and do realistic threat assessments. Here’s hers.
This is why I’m so hard on the Nice Guys. From his language, he is indistinguishable from any other Nice Guy I’ve met on the internet and in person. The only way I can tell him apart is after the fact that he slaughtered 7 people.
After the fact is too late to be able to tell the difference. If there is no difference before between a harmless Nice Guy and a mass shooter, then the problem is with the Nice Guys to change not me to suddenly develop mind reading skills and guess who is whom. If I were to guess wrong, I’d only be blamed for it anyway. I should know karate, I should carry a gun, I should learn urban tactical skills, I should have pity-fucked him because he deserves to get laid and I’m so mean for not being attracted to him and the friendzone is cruel.
For my own safety, I have to assume that anyone who behaves like an entitled homicidal misogynistic killer is or could become an entitled homicidal misogynistic killer. So stop defending the Nice Guys. Stop giving entitled homicidal misogynistic killers places to hide and excuses and permission to be.
A “normal” person would behave this way. That’s why it keeps happening. That’s why the same sorts of people keep doing it and the same sorts of people continue to be the targets. These are not coincidences. Armchair diagnosing this particular mass-murderer relies on guesswork; taking him at his word when he writes a lengthy manifesto EXPLAINING CLEARLY how and why this happened does not.
“If I can’t have you, girls, I’ll destroy you.”
Don’t ask me to pretend I didn’t hear that, and that I haven’t heard it before from “normal” men. Don’t ask me for that. I can’t. You know why you don’t see this guy’s name in here? You know why I am not using it? Mass killers want notoriety. I’m happy to talk about what’s wrong with him and how people like him are created and sheltered by the culture we’re all swimming in, but I don’t see why anybody should give half a damn about his name. I don’t want to erase his motivations because they are reflective of a broader problem. I just want to erase his individuality. It’s exactly what a violently self-centered egotistic bitter little pissbaby of a misogynist deserves. People like him are a breed, and that’s all I need to know about any of them.
And let’s face it, it isn’t easy to distinguish this pigfucker from all the other guys who declare war on women for declining to fuck them. Who can remember the name of every single one?
Alyson Miers makes a great point.
Misogynist violence usually kills women who have been in the killer’s life. It’s mostly a matter of men who kill their wives or girlfriends, and sometimes take the children with them. What we have here is a brand of misogynist violence that threatens women who are total strangers to the killer.
What makes this dude remarkable is not that he took the ideas of his peer group to their predictably murderous conclusions; what makes it remarkable is that he went after strangers. Most guys like this get near us first. Him? He didn’t even bother. Any woman would do.
Men can be different than this, and many already are. Unfortunately… well. StrangeInk’s Not All Men covers that. Some major figures in the “manosphere” like Roosh V. are still trying to defend their misogynist political leanings from association with the shooter, because that is their priority for some reason. (Don’t worry. I used Do Not Link, and if you wanna read it, I suggest having this open in another tab as a soundtrack).
The only things in common that [shooter] had with us is that (1) he wanted sex with attractive women, and (2) he had a functional penis. That’s it. The overlap of thought and belief between [shooter] and feminists, however, should convince you beyond a reasonable doubt that [shooter] was in fact a feminist, even if he didn’t himself know that his peg fit snugly into the feminist hole. I’ve actually met self-described feminists who were less feminist than [shooter] was.
While I stand by my argument that game would have helped [shooter], I am beginning to wonder if being a feminist was the seed that drove him to desperation and delusion, eventually leading to a tragic loss of life. This line of thought is worth pursuing by people who want to understand why a man felt that taking other lives and his own was seen as the best solution. You definitely won’t read about this conclusion in the media, which is too busy trying to toss [shooter] to our side like a hot piece of coal, even though [shooter] shares absolutely no similarity in thought and behavior to game practitioners.
I have logically come to the conclusion that [shooter] was in fact the first male feminist mass murderer that we have seen in America. I’m afraid that if the feminist ideology contained within [shooter]’s head is allowed to continue spreading, we are likely to see more violent acts by men who believe in the exact same things that feminists do.
I don’t even know how to make the words for how screwed up that is. If only The Landlady of Pig Sty Alley were here. She’d know what to do.
Failing that, fortunately for us all Andrew Ti at Yo, Is This Racist has some choice words.
But this UC Santa Barbara killer brings up a way that this type of shit can affect people. Because, when you co-opt the rhetoric of revolution and struggle, it’s more than just “trolling” or some bullshit to make, you know, actual decent people angry. It’s language that can make a disturbed person think that defending bigotry is a legitimate struggle, that, in [shooter]’s case, that owning and subjugating women is a cause worth killing and dying for. Because that’s what those words mean, you fucking garbage assholes, those words are for people who struggle from real oppression, to inspire people to sacrifice and never give up. The fact that straight white men have taken these words to rally around calcifying the bigotry that’s slipping from their fingers is truly disgusting, and now it’s more clear that it has fucking consequences.
The last thing I am going to include is something I am very deliberately closing with because it is quite possibly the only thing I have read on this subject that made me feel better. The author was angry and needed to get that anger out, but having read this with that expectation… I had no idea just how very much closer to healing I’d feel afterwards. Please, if you feel too terrible to take any more of this, set this link aside and read it instead of anything else. Read it as soon as you can, and read it whenever you don’t know what to do or how anything can possibly be better.
You want to talk about misandry?
Be good to yourself. Take care of yourself. And yes, live.